Related Rule
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides:
35. Belligerents must allow the free passage of … all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under 15 …
36. Belligerents must make provision for the care of children under 15 who have been orphaned or separated from their families as a result of the war. They must ensure the maintenance of such children … Belligerents must also facilitate the reception of these children by neutral countries for the duration of hostilities, with the consent of the Protecting Power, if any, and under due safeguards as above, and must endeavour to arrange for all children under 12 to be easily identifiable. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, §§ 35–36.
The manual further states that as aliens in the territory of a party to the conflict, “children under fifteen … must be given the benefit of any preferential treatment that is accorded to similar classes of nationals of the belligerents”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 46.
The manual also provides:
The Occupant must not prevent the application of any measures which may have been adopted prior to the occupation in favour of children under fifteen … with regard to food, medical care and protection against the effects of war. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 538.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) provides: “The free passage of medical and hospital stores and objects for religious worship is guaranteed as well as essential food and clothes for children.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 34, § 5.
The Pamphlet adds: “Parties to the conflict are to care for children under 15, orphans and those separated from their families. They are not to be subject to political propaganda.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 34, § 6.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “Children are to be respected and protected, especially against indecent assault. The care and aid needed by children must be provided.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.9.
In its discussion on the 1977 Additional Protocol II, the manual states:
15.39. In general, “children shall be provided with the care and aid they require” but the protocol also lays down particular requirements. These include an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care, steps to facilitate family reunions, and a ban on their recruitment or participation in the hostilities while under the age of fifteen. However, if children under that age do take part in hostilities, they continue to benefit from the general protections provided in the protocol, including the special protection of them as children. If necessary, measures should be taken, where possible with the consent of their parents or guardians, “to remove children temporarily from the area in which hostilities are taking place to a safer area within the country and ensure that they are accompanied by persons responsible for their safety and well-being”.
15.39.1. Particular attention is given to the position of children because they are likely to be at special risk in internal conflicts. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, §§ 15.39.–15.39.1.
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “Specific population groups such as … children … benefit from additional protection provided for in specific conventions.” 
United Kingdom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, March 2010, p. 4.
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides that belligerents “must ensure the maintenance of [children under 15] and facilitate the exercise of their religion, while their education must as far as possible be entrusted to persons of similar cultural tradition”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 36.
The manual further states:
If the local institutions are not adequate for the purpose, the Occupant must make arrangements for the maintenance and education of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who can not be adequately looked after by a near relative or friend. The persons entrusted for the maintenance and education of such children shall, if possible, be persons of the children’s own nationality, language and religion. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 538.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states: “In the event of an evacuation of non-nationals, each child’s education must be provided with the greatest possible continuity. This should include moral and religious education as desired by parents.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.15.
In its discussion on the 1977 Additional Protocol II, the manual states:
In general, “children shall be provided with the care and aid they require” but the protocol also lays down particular requirements. These include an education which makes provision for their religious and moral care. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 15.39.
The UK Military Manual (1958) states: “The belligerents should endeavour to conclude local agreements for the removal from besieged or encircled areas of … children”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 29.
The UK LOAC Pamphlet (1981) states: “A local cease-fire may be arranged for the removal from besieged or encircled areas of … children”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of Armed Conflict, D/DAT/13/35/66, Army Code 71130 (Revised 1981), Ministry of Defence, prepared under the Direction of The Chief of the General Staff, 1981, Section 9, p. 34, § 3.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
There are no restrictions on the evacuation to a foreign country by a belligerent state of children of its own nationality. Children who are not nationals of a belligerent state may not be evacuated by that state to a foreign country unless:
a. evacuation is temporary;
b either:
(1) it is compelled by reason of the health or medical treatment of the children, or
(2) except in occupied territory, the safety of the children so demands;
c. the written consent of the parents or legal guardians of each child is obtained;
d. the evacuation is made under an agreement between the state arranging for the evacuation, the state(s) receiving the children and the state(s) whose nationals are evacuated;
e. the evacuation is supervised by the protecting power; and
f. the parties to the conflict take all feasible precautions to avoid endangering the evacuation. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.14.
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides: “In any case, the death penalty may not be pronounced against a protected person who was under 18 years of age at the time of the offence.” 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 566(c).
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states:
Death penalties for offences related to the armed conflict are not to be carried out on those aged under eighteen years at the time of the offence. In any event, United Kingdom courts may not impose death sentences. 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 9.9.2; see also § 16.48 (enforcement of the law of armed conflict).
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Secretary of State for International Development stated:
The most effective way of tackling the use of child soldiers is to prevent, reduce and resolve armed conflicts. This is part of the wider issue of the impact of armed conflict on children generally, their families and communities. In addressing this, my Department is working with other UK Government Departments and other governments through appropriate regional mechanisms, the non-governmental community and the multilateral system to this end. UNICEF, with the support of my Department and other governments, works to effect the disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation of child soldiers, particularly back into the community and prevent their re-recruitment. Through a multi-year capacity building programme supported by my Department, UNICEF are collecting data on the situation of children affected by armed conflict globally, to better inform policy, guidance and programming on the wide range of issues involved. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Secretary of State for International Development, Hansard, 30 January 2003, Vol. 398, Written Answers, col. 966W.
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the United Kingdom stated:
Article 7
Prevention, rehabilitation and social integration
62. The United Kingdom supports humanitarian programmes and projects run by UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs that include providing support to child soldiers. For example, we support UNHCR to work with and provide protection and humanitarian assistance to displaced children. The United Kingdom’s new institutional strategy (IS) with UNHCR for the years 2007–09 includes priority objectives about age, gender and diversity mainstreaming throughout UNHCR’s programmes. We expect this to improve efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable, including displaced children. In 2005, the United Kingdom provided £30 million to UNHCR, of which £20 million was core IS funding. In 2006, in addition to our contributions to UNHCR through country-based offices, we also provided £20 million core IS funding. United Kingdom funding for UNICEF has also included a focus on children affected by armed conflict. Our current support for UNICEF aims to improve the capacity of the organization for evidence-based advocacy in relation to violations against children. In relation to the NGO sector, the United Kingdom has funded Save the Children to train a number of child protection officers over a period of five years with the intention of addressing the issue of insufficient capacity in the protection sector of the humanitarian system. We also provide support for the Women’s Commission for refugee women and children and we help to fund the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict to raise international awareness about these issues. 
United Kingdom, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, UN Doc. CCPR/C/OPAC/GBR/1, 3 September 2007, submitted 16 July 2007, § 62.